• Titles: Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight, Girls’ Musical Revue Starlight
  • Genre: Surrealism, drama, musical, school, CGDCT
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: Kinema Citrus

Karen and Hikari are going to be stars. They are going to be Stage Girls that shine brighter than any others. There’s no doubt about it! After all, they did promise! And now, they may have a chance to fulfill that promise after so many years. All they need to do is pass the auditions for the Revue. How hard could the audition process be? They simply need to defeat all the other incredibly talented girls in elaborate sword fights while singing and not lose their capes in the process! Also, the casting agent is a giraffe. I’m not even joking here, this sounds way better, easier and less humiliating than most casting calls I have read about. Then again, it is a high school production…

Revue Starlight piqued my curiosity after AniList assured me that it was like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Penguindrum (which is a masterpiece) and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. From which I understood that it was a ruthless and slightly cruel drama with a lot of surreal and magical realism elements and almost entirely allegory. Awwww yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about.

tis is going to be fun!

Production

The production of Revue Starlight is one of those projects that shines mostly by what it is not. It’s not inconsistent, not visibly restricted by budget and ironically, not very creative. The art style is standard pretty girl anime. I enjoyed it while watching it and odds are I will forget about the designs entirely in a week. The visual that caught my attention the most, by far, were the jellyfish scenes at the aquarium and those weren’t that important narratively. But they were pretty.

The voice acting was fine but nothing stood out. However, I noticed that if you are listening to the dub, the Japanese voice actresses are still used for all the signing (which isn’t translated) and they sound drastically different from their English counterparts. It’s pretty funny but also completely took me out of the moment as I was wondering who exactly had started singing!

I will say, out of the shows it was compared to, Revue Starlight is by far the least interesting production on every level. This said, when a story is odd or surreal, that’s not always a bad thing. A mundane production can serve to balance everything out a bit and prevent overloading the viewer. As such a competent if general standard production is a strength in this case.

great jellyfish!

Story & Characters

Besides, the story is where it’s at, right? First off, Revue Starlight is one of those performative sapphism shows and a portion of the series is focused on that. What I mean is that the show isn’t openly Yuri, there are no romantic or sexual relationships between women neither is the prospect of romantic relationships explored in any way. But the girls do have a lot of touchy-feely scenes and sure care about each other as friends a whole lot. Peppered throughout the series are a lot of those types of scenes that will give audiences fuel for their imagination should they want to read the story that way.

I tried to see something in the actual events and action of the series that might be taken as a metaphor for lesbian relationships and the particular obstacles and joys they present but I couldn’t find anything. It’s an all-girl universe as well so all relationships are lesbian ones which naturally sets aside the issues of gay rights. And that’s fine. I think that Revue Starlight is a lighthearted show to allow you to forget about these sorts of things. Escapism! And I actually liked that about it.

One of my personal issues with Revue Starlight though is that although it is quite surreal, (the Revue auditions are the part I enjoyed the most and the animation was fantastic in some of the fight sequences) I never really figured out what it was an allegory for.

don’t trust the French? I mean it’s a practical message…

If you stretch it you could see the literal sword fights of these Stage Girls (that sounds a little insulting to me but I don’t know why) as a stand-in for how brutal and aggressive the audition process is and how show business, in general, is a battle. But even as I write this, I feel like I’m forcing a meaning that wasn’t intended. It’s not something I saw in the show, rather something I’m reaching for in hindsight.

As such, the main themes I saw at the time of viewing were friendship is magic and the necessity of letting go of childhood joys in order to face the future. You know, coming of age. And those weren’t so much allegories as exactly what was happening on screen. I didn’t feel that the odd elements were a stand-in for anything. Rather they were a way to punctuate the actual events of the plot.

I wrote a lot of words and none of them actually tells you how I felt about Revue Starlight. All I really told you was that my viewing experience was very different than I expected and that for me, the similarities to shows like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Penguindrum (which is a masterpiece) and Puella Magi Madoka Magica are superficial. Rather this was a much more straightforward girl school drama that dealt with the usual exploration of finding yourself and connecting to others while adding some decidedly unusual sequences. And as such, it wasn’t bad.

friendship IS magic!

It’s not really my personal jam and probably wouldn’t have been so eager to watch it at this time if it had been compared to Love Live! But I’m happy I watched it and if it’s the sort of show you like then I think you might enjoy Revue Starlight.

You might like this anime if:

You enjoy Yuri light shows and girls being friends! You think there aren’t enough giraffes in anime and you would be right!

My favourite character:

Nana and I think she has the most interesting arc as well.

Suggested drink:

There are half a dozen cocktails called Starlight, here’s one!

  • Every time Karen is tired/hungry – take a sip
  • Every time Mahiru is clingy – take a sip
  • Every time Hikari is being all tsun – relax girl!
  • Every time someone says “stage girl” – take a bow
  • Every time there’s an audition – take a sip
  • Every time Nana makes treats – get a snack
  • Every time anyone wants to be a STAR – take a sip
  • Every time Claudine says something in French – try to figure out what she said
  • Every time Nana gets called Banana – take a sip
  • Every time we see Kirin – raise your glass
  • Every time the actors have ballet practice – take a sip
  • Every time Nana has her hair down – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions the “99th class” – make a toast
  • Every time someone mentions a promise – take a sip
  • Every time a girl starts crying – take a sip
  • Every time we see Tokyo Tower – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

3 thoughts

  1. I pretty much had the same reaction. I eventually dropped the show, actually, not because I hated it or anything; I just lost interest. Not even sure why; I stuck with a lot of worse shows, probably quite a few that season? I don’t remember what it aired alongside. I remember getting caught off guard by the giraffe, and then feeling it didn’t really matter all that much. It’s not such a surreal show, that just felt like a surface layer to me. I don’t think I got to Nana’s arc proper, though I’ve seen the signs and heard others talk about it. I don’t really remember.

    Basically, your post confirmed my impression. I may come back to it if I’m ever very bored, but it’s not a priority.

    1. It’s not bad but in many ways, I found it to be a fairly basic anime. If I was watcing a lot of other shows at the same time, I probably would have forgotten about it.

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